This morning, I woke up thinking, “it’s time to do eight pieces of silk.”
Ok, but I don’t know the Eight Pieces of Silk. This is an internal qi gong form with three more postures than the one I do now, and some of its postures are rather different than the ones I do now. Nonetheless, I woke up from a sound sleep thinking, I should do this.
So I did what any self-respecting 21st century qi gong practitioner should do. I looked at YouTube, and found dozens, if not hundreds, of people showing off their interpretation of the Eight Pieces of Silk. Here’s one of the ones I watched, to get a sense of how many of the exercises one is supposed to do.
I only did three of the exercises this morning, in addition to my regular practice. It’s going to take some time to learn a full new form. But here’s the thing. My knees no longer creak, and my shoulders and arms and legs and flanks are getting stronger (my belly isn’t shrinking, but that’s a different problem. Really). On the other hand, I’ve reached a plateau. The Five Golden Coins in two months have opened up a lot of possibilities, but there’s limits to how much they can do. Likewise the main taiji form: I can, and will, keep practicing it. But accepting only its postures leads to another kind of rigidity.
Add something new from time to time. Keep learning. Keep moving. Keep stretching the body. Keep finding new ways to ask it to grow in strength, power, beauty and grace.